WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College women's soccer team opens the season Saturday with optimism after finishing last year on a high note and with experienced players returning all over the field for 19th-year head coach Jen Holsten.
Colby, which went 7-7-1 overall and were a strong 5-2 in home games a year ago, opens the 2012 season with an 11 a.m. game at Connecticut College. The Mules went 3-6-1 in NESCAC play last year and made the conference playoffs after big 1-0 wins over Hamilton College and rival Bates College near the end of the regular season.
While Colby is deep at most positions, the best battle for playing time is in goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Brook (Duxbury, Mass.) played every minute in net a year ago and finished with seven shutouts. Senior Jayde Bennett (Lynn, Mass.) missed last season due to injury, but was an All-NESCAC keeper as the starter in her sophomore season. The two will likely both see quality playing minutes.
Alex Yorke (Chicago, Ill.), an All-New England selection for the Mules, scored the lone goal in the win against Bates and returns in the center of the midfield. Sophomore midfielder Cami Notaro (Bethesda, Md.) had a fine first season with Colby, with all three of her goals coming in close victories. Sophomore midfielder Maddie Tight (San Rafael, Calif, 2 goals, 1 assist) and senior tri-captain Kate Laxson (Wayzata, Minn., 1 goal, 3 assists) both had five points.
The Mules also return Carly Dee (Wellesley, Mass.), Hallie Hesslein (Auburndale, Mass.), Julia Blumenstyk (Morristown, N.J.), Amanda Findlay (Manchester, Maine), and Ruthie Hawley (Poulsbo, Wash.) in the midfield. First-years Lauren McCarthy (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Catherine McClure (Barkhamsted, Conn.) will supply depth to the midfield.
Senior tri-captains Kate Pistel (Amherst, Mass.) and Kat McCarrick (Wellesley, Mass.) both return at outside back to lead the defense along with inside back Grace Dickinson (Northfield, Ill.). Junior Amelia Barnett (Carlisle, Mass.) and first-years Emma Marjollet (Hingham, Mass.), Caroline Vaughan (Wilton, Conn.), and Meagan Watson (Monument, Colo.) are all in the mix on defense.
The Mules have been held back the past few seasons by lack of consistent goal scoring. Colby made the most of its scoring last year in a 7-7-1 season, but the Mules managed just 15 goals in the 15 games.
Junior forwards Crysti Tsujiura (Scarborough, Maine), Annie Papadellis (Hopkinton, Mass.), Emily Anderson (Grafton, Mass.), and Christina Damon (Brunswick, Maine) will be counted for scoring along with sophomores Abby Hatch (Wilbraham, Mass.) and Janie O'Halloran (Benton, Maine).